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Early Puberty in Young Girls Linked to Depression: Study

Update Date: Jun 07, 2016 07:31 AM EDT

Some girls develop earlier than others. Teenage girls who hit puberty earlier than their peers have a higher risk of getting adolescent depression later. This is particularly true for girls who have more visible breast development than others.

Early Puberty & Depression Only Tied to Girls, Not Boys

A Chinese study found that that earlier that girls through puberty and develop their breasts, the more they are at risk for adolescent depression. The researchers analyzed more than 5,000 teenagers born in Hong Kong. For girls that don't develop early, another increment in age means a 17 percent reduced chance of depression. However, their findings did not apply to boys and this has something to do with girls developing breasts.

Study author Mary Schooling of the University of Hong Kong explained that breast development is much more visible than genitalia development in boys. Girls exhibiting developing breasts are looked up to as more mature and therefore given mature social roles that they may have difficulties in coping with, Schooling said in an email, Fox News reported.


The researchers of the study found that boys develop their genitalia around the age of 11 and their pubic hair by age 12. For girls, breast development starts by age 9 and pubic hair around age 11.The study was posted online in the journal Pediatrics.

New Study Correlates with Earlier Study of Early Developed Girls Having Depression

Dr Carolyn McCarty from the University of Washington said that the findings of the new research correlate with previous findings about early puberty in girls and them having adolescent depression. McCarty, who wasn't involved in the new study, adds that while girls are given more responsible roles with regards to their mature-like appearance, boys aren't expected to be given the same, The Globe and Mail noted.

Do you think teenage girls who are having earlier puberty have it more difficult than teenage boys? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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